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Ashington AFC

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Blyth Town

Tue 25 Oct 2016 | Northumberland Senior Cup | Home

Stadium

Woodhorn Lane

Attendance

138

Referee

Dean Hulme

Kick-Off

19:30

By Scott Messenger

It was another night of cup disappointment for Ashington on Tuesday evening as the Colliers crashed out of the Techflow Group Northumberland Senior Cup at the first-round stage, losing to near neighbours Blyth Town at Woodhorn Lane thanks to a last-minute goal from Daniel Sayers.
After early stage defeats in the FA Cup to North West Counties League side Nelson, and the surprise defeat at Northern League Division Two side Easington in the FA Vase, Blyth Town became the second lower division side to end Ashington’s hopes of silverware this season.
This was the first competitive meeting between Ashington and Blyth Town since the visitors were promoted to the Northern League 2nd Division, moving up from the Northern Alliance after a highly successful season last year.
The visitors came to Woodhorn Lane off the back of a convincing 5-1 win over Willington in division two, while Ashington came into the match after dismantling Newton Aycliffe away by four goals to nil. Unfortunately for Ashington they could not repeat that performance in this local derby.
Ashington, kicking towards the Hirst Welfare end in the first half, created the first decent opportunity on four minutes as Ben Harmison played in strike partner David Dormand, but his effort was well smothered by Blyth goalkeeper Mathew Crook. Two minutes later the visitors had a half chance, but Colliers keeper Conor Grant easily held a header from Town defender Lee Middleton following a free-kick from the right wing.
In the 7th minute Ashington midfielder Kyle Downey saw his low, left footed, 25-yard effort parried away by Crook. Five minutes later Ashington were a goal down.
With 12 minutes on the clock, Blyth midfielder David Robinson was brought down in the penalty area by Colliers defender James Harmison and striker Gary Day converted the spot kick, sending Grant the wrong way, to put the second division side ahead.
Just two minutes later Ashington came agonisingly close to equalising. A corner from the right flank was met by a towering header from Ben Harmison, but Crook did brilliantly to push the effort against the crossbar and the visitors managed to scramble the ball clear.
On 20 minutes the away side almost doubled their advantage. A cross from the right was met by the head of striker Day, but he was denied by a superb save by Grant. From the resulting corner, ex-Ashington striker Tony Stephenson managed to get a header in on goal, but could only direct it straight at Grant, who managed to hold on to it.
Just before the half hour mark, Blyth’s Robinson outpaced Harmison, but dragged his effort wide of the far post, before going close again on 34 minutes on the counter attack which resulted in Dean Walker curling an effort just off target.
On 36 minutes Ashington missed a golden opportunity to level the score. Ben Harmison did well to get to the by-line and pulled the ball back to Dormand, but with the goal gaping, Dormand couldn’t connect with the ball and the visitors cleared the danger. The first half ended 1-0 to the visitors.
During the half time break, Blyth Town brought on veteran midfielder Ian Herron. The ex-Ashington midfielder, a fan favourite back in the Portland Park days under Tony Harrison, added plenty of experience to the Blyth midfield in the second half.
Ashington began the second half brightly and on the hour mark the hosts were level. A corner from the left was met by the head of Dormand, and his effort flew past a stranded Crook to make it 1-1.
Five minutes later Ashington went close to taking the lead when Downey cut inside and fired in a powerful effort from just outside the box that went inches wide of the goal.
On 75 minutes, the home side went close again as Lee McAndrew’s cross from the right flank was headed just wide by Dormand. Play quickly switched to the other end as Blyth Town midfielder Robinson managed to get in on goal, but his attempt was well blocked by Grant.
With the clock just about to strike 90 minutes and with extra time looming, Blyth Town struck the sucker punch which was to end Ashington’s participation in this season’s Senior Cup. A deep cross from the left was headed back across goal, causing havoc in the Colliers six-yard box. Grant managed to block an effort from point blank range, but the loose ball fell to Blyth defender Daniel Sayer, and he smashed the ball into the roof of the net from just a couple of yards out to put the away side back in the lead.
In stoppage time, Ashington manager Steve Harmison threw on another striker in Andrew Bulford in a desperate attempt to force and equaliser, but the away side held on to claim victory and advance to the second round of the Northumberland Senior Cup.
Ashington are back in home league action on Saturday, with Seaham Red Star the visitors to Woodhorn Lane. Kick-off is 3pm.

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